There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease but an early diagnosis can allow drug treatment to improve, or at least stabilise, the symptoms. In Alzheimer's disease the death of brain cells and tissue loss can cause parts of the brain to shrink. Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to look at the brains of people with Alzheimer's, those with mild cognitive impairment and a healthy control group. The researchers were looking for a pattern of brain shrinkage in the participants with mild cognitive impairment that would be a good indicator of people going on to develop Alzheimer's. They found that people with mild cognitive impairment who had brain shrinkage in the medial and lateral temporal lobes and in their frontal lobes showed a significant decline a year later and were more likely to progress to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. The authors of the study hope that their findings could be a useful tool in the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's.
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